12 killed in Iraq army centre bomb blast

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The Independent Online

An explosives-rigged bicycle detonated near an Iraq army recruiting centre in a city south of Baghdad today, killing at least 12 people and wounding 28.

A man posing as a potential army recruit planted the bicycle early in the morning outside the recruiting center in Hillah, about 60 miles south of Baghdad, said police Lt. Osama Ahmed.

The man walked off as volunteers gathered outside to sign up for the army, and the bomb exploded at about 8am local time, Ahmed said.

Hillah was the site of one of the bomb attacks in Iraq, when a suicide car bomber in February last year killed 125 national guard and police recruits who were lined up to take physical tests.

In another incident in 2005, a bomb explosion killed 60 civilians who were lining up to apply for police jobs in the Kurdish city of Irbil in northern Iraq.

Insurgents have often targeted Iraqi army and police volunteers as they line up outside recruiting stations, as a way to discourage people from joining the security services and keep the military and police weak.

In Baghdad, a bomb exploded near the Shorja commercial centre, killing one person and wounding 22, said police Lt. Bilal Ali Majid.

Shorja is Iraq's largest market, where wholesalers use warehouses, stalls and shops to sell food, clothing and house products to businessmen and shoppers.